Xi-EU summit delayed ; Facebook to label CCP propaganda; Political grumblings; June 4

Apologies but our twins are graduating from middle school today, virtually, and I am running behind schedule so there is not commentary up here. I will make it up to you.

Look for the Friday open thread tomorrow morning.

Today’s Essential Eight:

  1. Hong Kong

  2. US-China

  3. Facebook to label CCP propaganda

  4. China-Europe

  5. June 4

  6. Political grumblings

  7. China and the world

  8. The outbreak

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Hong Kong

Hong Kongers defy police ban to remember Tiananmen Square - CNN

Thousands of Hong Kongers defied a police ban Thursday to gather in the city's Victoria Park and mark the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre...

While numbers appeared down on previous years, and the usually well-organized memorial had a rather chaotic impromptu feel, they were by no means negligible, a major sign of defiance to Beijing.

In Pictures: Hong Kong police fire pepper spray as protesters try to occupy road after Tiananmen massacre tribute | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Hong Kong police deployed pepper spray and took away at least four persons in Mong Kok on Thursday night, after hundreds of people gathered for a community commemoration on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

Security legislation for HKSAR will not affect rights, freedoms - Lam - People's Daily Online

She also criticized some foreign governments for adopting blatant double standards on the issue.

"It is within the legitimate jurisdiction of any country to enact laws to protect and safeguard national security. The United States is no exception. The United Kingdom is no exception," she said. "So why should they object, resist or even condemn and introduce sanctions against Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China for taking similar actions?"

"We are operating in accordance with the Basic Law. The Basic Law provides for 'one country, two systems'. The important pillar in this 'one country, two systems' is 'one country'," she said, adding that without "one country" there could not be "two systems".

HKSAR chief executive Carrie Lam vows to fully cooperate on national security legislation, urges residents to actively express opinions - Xinhua

Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam has said on Wednesday that the HKSAR government will fully cooperate on national security legislation for HKSAR and urged Hong Kong people to actively express their opinions during the process of the legislation.

The HKSAR government will cooperate on the drafting of the related law, improve law enforcement capability, and launch national security education, Lam told a press briefing in Beijing, accompanied by several senior officials of the HKSAR government

HKSAR LegCo passes National Anthem Bill - CGTN

The bill makes stipulations on the playing and singing of China's national anthem "March of the Volunteers," specifies "the standard, etiquette and occasion" for using the national anthem, and criminalizes insulting or misusing the national anthem, with persons who commit an offense facing a potential fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars (approximately 6,450 U.S. dollars) and up to three years in jail.

The bill is a local implementation of the National Anthem Law – legislation that came into force in the Chinese mainland on October 1, 2017, and was soon added to Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, in November the same year.

Following Article 18(2) of the Basic Law, the HKSAR government bears the responsibility to apply locally the national laws listed in Annex III to the Basic Law by way of promulgation or legislation by the HKSAR.

Hong Kong’s legislature passes national anthem law amid opposition lawmaker protest | South China Morning Post

Debate cut short as opposition lawmakers hauled away by security guards after rushing floor of council chamber with foul-smelling liquid

香港特区政府推出“维护国家安全”网站-新华网

The HK government launched a website for safeguarding the national security in Hong Kong by promoting knowledge to Hong Kong citizens about the National Security Law.

人民锐评 | 呼吁外国制裁香港,乱港分子奴相毕露

People’s Daily commentary vowed to punish the Hong Kong pro-democracy activists who asked for US sanctions to deter Beijing. It said the HK and central government is prepared to retaliate the US and to protect Hong Kong’s status as financial hub, and the protesters will be eventually abandoned by their “American masters”.

财新:人事观察|中央港澳工作领导小组亮相, 韩正任组长

Caixin reported that China has upgraded the “coordination small group” on Hong Kong and Macau affairs to a “leading small group”. The new group is headed by premier Han Zheng and there are two deputies, Zhao Kezhi the minister for public security and Xia Baolong from state council office on HK and Macau affairs.

商务部:香港单独关税区地位的法律基础源自世贸组织协定-新华网

针对美方威胁取消香港独立关税区地位问题,商务部发言人高峰表示:香港独立关税区地位的法律基础源自世贸组织协定,不是某一成员单独赋予。香港的经济地位受基本法保护,受世界各国承认和尊重。美国依据其国内法采取单方面措施,既违反世贸组织规则,也不符合美国自身利益。

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng: HK’s special economic status wasn’t given by the US; it comes from WTO regulation and wasn’t given by a single member; the United States adopting unilateral measures in accordance with its domestic laws violates WTO rules and is not in the interest of the United States.

China will crush dissent in Hong Kong, just as it did in Tiananmen Square | Ma Jian | Opinion | The Guardian

China May Sacrifice Hong Kong to Achieve its Goals - The New York Times

Beijing sees its position as strong while the rest of the world is divided and still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The United States will hurt itself more by coming down hard against Hong Kong, officials believe. Hong Kong’s protest movement, at least for the moment, seems demoralized...

“There will be some unhappy people for some time,” said John L. Thornton, a former president of Goldman Sachs who has longstanding ties with China’s leadership. “But the drum rolls, the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. That’s the political judgment. They have had a fair amount of empirical evidence that the concerns will disappear.”

Anti-racism protests in U.S. expose country's double standards - People's Daily

It is already known that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in the U.S. have funded political groups, polling organizations and so-called human rights organizations in Hong Kong for a long time.

The fact that American demonstrators have no helmets, masks, goggles, "journalists" or medical teams like the Hong Kong protesters did proves that the Hong Kong chaos was instigated and supported by foreign countries, according to Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and former HK chief executive.


2. US-China

U.S. Considers Adding More Chinese Media Outlets to Foreign-Mission List - WSJ $$

Though they said the exact timing and number of outlets affected have yet to be finalized, a list under consideration last month, according to one of the people, named five Chinese organizations—People’s Daily, Global Times, China Central Television, China News Service and Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite Television Ltd...

A Global Times editor said the newspaper was surprised to learn of the possible designation. Its seven employees in the U.S. all work for the newspaper’s English edition and are locals mainly involved in printing, said deputy editor-in-chief Xie Rongbin. Representatives for the other four Chinese media organizations didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Comment: I am not sure what the point of this is, but expect it to result in more hassles for US reporters in China. The US government should be a lot more creative and asymmetric about how it pressures Beijing over the lack of media reciprocity.

Trump not considering sanctions on China's Xi over Hong Kong - Reuters

“I haven’t thought of that,” Trump said on Wednesday when asked in an interview on Newsmax TV whether he was thinking about imposing sanctions on Xi.

Asked about his relationship with Xi, Trump said: “Haven’t spoken to him in a while. It was very good.”..

He praised a trade agreement the two countries signed in January, but criticized Beijing for the novel coronavirus pandemic, which began in China.

China Cancels Some U.S. Farm Shipments, Maritime Executives Say - WSJ

The Chinese shipping executives said state importers China Oil and Foodstuffs Corp. and China Grain Reserves Corp. had canceled their shipments.

“They were looking at 23 American soybean cargoes last week, but held off,” said the first shipping executive, whose company would have moved about a third of the cargoes on its ships. “It’s a warning shot to the Americans to ease the verbal attacks.”

Comment: Trade deal still hanging on by a thread, even if China is way behind on hitting the purchase commitments:

Pompeo to urge stock exchanges globally to tighten rules for Chinese companies - Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set warn American investors on Thursday against ‘fraudulent’ accounting practices of China-based companies and will suggest the Nasdaq’s recent decision to tighten listing rules for such players should be a model for all other exchanges around the world.

Trump’s vicious intentions of demonizing China must be condemned - People's Daily on Facebook

U.S. President Donald Trump said at a recent press conference that the “incompetence” of the Chinese government has caused suffering around the world. Why, he asked, does China not allow people infected in Wuhan to travel to other parts of the country, while allowing them to travel freely around the world, including the U.S. and Europe?

What Trump said is both fabricated and misleading. In a league of his own in terms of smearing other countries, Trump’s ability to lie is on a par with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s.

Comment: Interesting that People’s Daily is attacking Trump by name, in English and on Facebook.

骁话一下:1862年就得到解放,为什么美国黑人至今无法呼吸

Video made by Guancha continued to report the racial problems in the US, listing a range of things of USG cracking down on civil rights movements, including suggesting that Hoover was behind the assassination of Martin Luther King. The video has more than two million views in just one day.


3. Facebook to label CCP propaganda

The new policies cover “state-controlled media outlets” not just from China. As I have said repeatedly, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are key to the CCP’s global propaganda efforts and its goal of increasing China’s international discourse power.

As I wrote in the March 31 Sinocism:

It is impressive how skillfully China uses information decoupling and platform asymmetry to push its propaganda agendas. The “wolf warrior” diplomats and propaganda organs are making their case globally on American platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube; CCP outlets like CGTN/CCTV/CRI, People’s Daily and China Daily are allowed to broadcast and distribute inside the US and other countries and Wechat is integral to the information consumption of the global Chinese-speaking diaspora. Meanwhile, foreign media are effectively blocked from broadcasting or publishing inside China, and from disseminating information on Chinese social media like Weibo and Wechat. PRC officials constantly talk about the dangers of decoupling, but at least when it comes to information they are aggressively and successfully pursuing a very comprehensive agenda of information decoupling in which they control the messaging for the domestic audiences while spreading unfettered their messaging globally.

Labeling State-Controlled Media On Facebook - About Facebook

Several months ago, we announced our plan to label media outlets that are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government, and today we’re starting to apply labels to those state-controlled media outlets. We’re providing greater transparency into these publishers because they combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government.

And to ensure we’re equally transparent when it comes to paid content from these publishers, we will begin labeling ads from these publishers later this year.

State-controlled media outlets rarely advertise in the US. Nevertheless, later this summer we will begin blocking ads from these outlets in the US out of an abundance of caution to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the US.

Facebook slaps labels on state-controlled media amid anger over Trump’s posts – POLITICO

The tech giant said that it would now add labels to the Facebook pages of Russia Today, Sputnik, Xinhua News and the People's Daily, among others, warning people that these were state-controlled outlets. Other government-funded publishers that are run independently, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, would not be included in the labeling, according to the company...

In recent days, the likes of Russia Today, China's Xinhua News and Iran's PressTV have all run articles and videos of the U.S. protests to their millions of online followers on Facebook, though these organizations have not yet pushed outright falsities on the network. Still, European and U.S. officials have repeatedly warned these government-controlled outlets, particularly those backed by the Kremlin, have pushed narratives aimed at undermining Western democracies.

Facebook to start labeling state media - CNN

Gleicher said Facebook consulted with 65 experts to create its own criteria to define which outlets to label as state-controlled media. These criteria include where the outlet's funding comes from, editorial transparency, ownership structure and governance, internal accountability mechanisms and third party confirmation of independence. An entity can be state-funded, but deemed independent. Though an initial list of outlets including China's CCTV and Xinhua, Russia Today and Sputnik will receive the label immediately, Gleicher warned the list is "dynamic" and will change over time. Entities can also appeal their label.

Letters of Determination - Department of Justice

The US DoJ released several Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) letters, including the 2018 one to CGTN America. It is an interesting read.


4. China-Europe

Xi Jinping’s September meeting with EU leaders in Germany postponed due to coronavirus | South China Morning Post

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Germany in September for a historic meeting with all EU national leaders has been postponed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Wednesday...

“They agreed that, given the overall pandemic situation, the meeting cannot take place at the scheduled time, but should be rescheduled. The details should be agreed upon soon,” he said.

But Xi boosted momentum for cooperation in the phone call, saying China was willing to work with Germany to support the World Health Organisation – which US President Donald Trump said he planned to leave.

Xi says China ready to work with Germany, EU to create more global certainty - Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that China stands ready to work with Germany and the European Union (EU) to strengthen strategic cooperation, uphold multilateralism, tackle global challenges, and jointly add certainty to the current world of uncertainty.

In a telephone conversation in the night with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Xi noted that it was the third time since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak that he and Merkel had spoken over the phone, which reflects the deep political mutual trust and close strategic communication between the two sides.

The Chinese side appreciates the German government's objective and rational stand as well as its respect for science on the pandemic issue, Xi said...

As a series of significant events of China-Germany and China-EU political exchanges are now under discussion, China is willing to keep close communication and coordination with Germany and the EU to ensure the success of these events and lift China-Germany and China-EU relations to higher levels, he added.

For her part, Merkel said that Germany attaches importance to the economic and social development plan made in China's "two sessions," and stands ready to work with China to promote work and production resumption without compromising outbreak control and continuously deepen bilateral economic cooperation.

Yicai - A China-EU Investment Treaty This Year Remains the Goal, Ministry Says

The objective of reaching a comprehensive investment treaty between China and the European Union by the end of this year, as determined at a meeting of Chinese and EU leaders last year, remains unchanged, according to China’s commerce ministry.

CHINADebate Interview with Joerg Wuttke President, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

‘What really annoyed us was when European people, as well as companies, donated money and equipment in January, the Chinese government asked us to lie low and not talk about it. So we didn't.’

‘Then all of a sudden we see China celebrating any mask that they landed in Europe.’

‘And of course on top of it, we are now experiencing the rhetoric, the assertiveness, the bullying of the ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomats you have written about.’

‘We now enjoy Wolf Warriors in our capitals - in Stockholm and Paris and Prague and other places.’

‘It is a very sad story to see how the propaganda ministry - within four to six weeks - managed to turn China into a problem for Europeans, and how China’s standing in Europe is eroding by the day.

China ‘needs to win over Europe’ after loss of trust and impact of US rivalry | South China Morning Post

Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said US-China relations could continue to decline and the EU would need to react to it.

“Europe should first and foremost find its own interests,” Wuttke said. “We should not slavishly follow one or the other. We have far more in common with the US than with China … but we don’t choose a side.”..

Wuttke said “a sense of international retraction” in China may undermine attempts at cooperation.

“The relations with the US are hardened, and I don’t see any effort yet to improve relations with Europe,” he said. “I don’t see any change in opening up to European products, or working together on reforming the World Trade Organisation, for example.”


5. June 4

Xi Thinks Tiananmen Was Worth It - Foreign Policy - Joseph Torigan

The meaning of June 4 this year is particularly strong. Hong Kong has banned the annual vigil held every year for the past three decades, blaming the coronavirus. The new national security law imposed by Beijing means it may never occur again, at least safely and legally. As protests in Hong Kong and the United States persist, people are struggling to draw lessons on what they will ultimately mean. But for the most powerful man in China, Tiananmen already determined his views on such events. They are dangerous, chaotic threats that must be prevented with propaganda and solved with violence. Doubters must toe the party line and recognize that only the party and communism can save China.

China: No Justice for Tiananmen Emboldens Abuses | Human Rights Watch

“China’s government never paid a price at home or abroad for the Tiananmen Massacre, encouraging its arbitrary detention of millions, repression of civil society, and weakening of international human rights law and institutions,” said Yaqiu Wang, China researcher. “Governments need to take stronger measures to pressure Beijing to acknowledge past wrongdoing and cease ongoing abuses.”

As in previous years, in the weeks before the anniversary, authorities have been on high alert across China to preempt commemorations of the massacre. Authorities have put under house arrest or restricted the movement and communication of members of Tiananmen Mothers, a group of relatives of Tiananmen Massacre victims, including Zhang Xianling, 82, and Ding Zilin, 83, whose sons were killed in the crackdown. The police have also put many activists, including Gao Yu, Hu Jia, Zha Jianguo, and Qi Zhiyong, under house arrest and prohibited them from communicating with others or updating their social media accounts.

RFI: 天安门母亲获安排到公墓拜祭 祭文坚持:真相、赔偿、问责

Followed closely by the police, mothers of students who died on June 4th visited the graves of their children. The families issued a statement said they won’t compromise in their demands for “truth, compensation and accountability”. 

How China's Hawks Still Exploit the 1989 Tiananmen Protests | Opinion - Michael Pillsbury

an emerging generation of Chinese believes this false narrative about the United States—that for 170 years, America has tried to dominate China. China depicts American national heroes as "evil masterminds" who manipulated Chinese officials and others to weaken China. We must never cease to remind ourselves that this is a lie. Today's Chinese hawks must not be permitted to slander and defame the one million Tiananmen protestors' honest efforts to reform China. Retelling the truth about Tiananmen every June 4 means opposing the hawks who so craftily rewrote reality as an American conspiracy...

What about the hawks of Tiananmen? The leader of the crackdown, Mr. Li Peng became China's premier. The most famous young hawk, Wang Huning, soon wrote America Against America, a book based on visiting 20 American universities. It initiated the anti-American movement in China. Today, Mr. Wang is the second most powerful leader in China, seated next to Xi Jinping on foreign trips. Mr. Wang was the sole leader to accompany Mr. Xi on his recent visit to Wuhan. Amnesia in China about Tiananmen in 1989 has combined with the rise of Mr. Wang's nationalist anti-U.S. views.

Taiwan’s President is good at Twitter:


6. Political grumblings

June 4 is always a politically sensitive time, and while things looked locked down inside China the grumblings heat up overseas. Retired soccer star Hao Haidong has joined forces with Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon and announced on Youtube the "New Federal State of China". On Wednesday someone posted to Youtube an alleged recording of comments by retired Central Party School Cai Xia at a "secret meeting of red nobility" in which she says that Xi needs to be replaced. It would be interesting to hear a recording of some of those “red nobility” discussing Ren Zhiqiang. I would not overstate the importance of these events in terms of actual pressure on Xi, but at the same time they will cause a reaction by the CCP system, and give glimpses into fissures that may keep the CCP security folks, if not Xi himself, up at night. Hao and Cai I believe are both now outside of China.

Retired China Soccer Star Calls for Ouster of Communist Party - The New York Times

A retired Chinese soccer star called for the ouster of China's ruling Communist Party in a video released on Thursday on the YouTube channel of fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui, who is close with former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon.

Hao Haidong, 50, who was a major star in China during the 1990s and 2000s, and is known to have a residence in Spain, spoke in a 53-minute video interview...

On Wednesday, a group of propeller planes trailing banners that read "New Federal State of China" flew over New York, where Guo and Bannon, former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, livestreamed from a boat, the New York Post reported. Guo is also known as Miles Kwok.

In another video, Hao read from a "declaration" of the "New Federal State of China."

Hao's Weibo account, which had more than 7 million followers, appeared to have been removed on Thursday afternoon

Comment: Xi may be especially annoyed given he is a huge soccer fan and would have cheered Hao on in his playing days

Retired footballer denounces Communist Party, calls for ‘Chinese federation’ | South China Morning Post

Speaking in Mandarin, Hao said in the video that his “Chinese federation” had been backed by fugitive Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Guo is seen in another video with Bannon, who reads out what appears to be an English version of Hao’s “proclamation”...

There was no official response from Beijing, but state-run newspaper Titan Sports slammed him in a statement on its official Weibo account, calling Hao’s comments “irresponsible”.

“This morning, former Chinese footballer H published open, subversive and detrimental materials against the Chinese government and our nation’s sovereignty, and took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to smear the Chinese government,” the newspaper said, referring to the footballer using only the first letter of his surname.

“We denounce such acts … and there should not be politicisation of sports,” it said. “Sports stars should stand firm … and not be manipulated by political forces who have ulterior motives.”

多维新闻:中国足球名宿郝海东涉政治言论引热议[图]

At least two sports media outlets in China have issued statements denouncing Hao and said will not report anything about him in the future. But they dare not say in the statement what Hao actually said. Hao’s Weibo account is deleted too.

Cai’s comments, no date given for this meeting, from her comments sounds like last year, before the pandemic. I believe she is now in New York, hearing talk there may be other recordings to come - 音频:中央党校蔡霞教授在红色后代秘密会议上的发言:必须换习、否则亡党!;中共已成政治僵尸(6/3) - YouTube

RFI on Cai’s comments - 前中共中央党校教授蔡霞:换人 中国才有希望

这位学者的判断非常冷静,近乎严酷:“从修宪开始,我们就可以看到这个党事实上已经是一个政治僵尸了”。蔡霞认为,修宪从党内程序来看不合法:“他绑架了十九届二中全会。他在二中全会前的两天抢着抛出‘取消任期制’的这么一个说法,迫使二中全会跟吃狗屎一样地咽下去。二中全会那么多中央委员,居然没有一个人敢在二中全会上把这个问题提出来,所以这个党本身已经是一个政治僵尸。一个人、一个主要领导可以凭着他掌握了刀把子,枪杆子,然后又捏住了体制本身所造成的官员贪腐。党内已经没有任何人权和法治保障党员干部的权利。” “9000万党员成了他的奴隶和个人使用的工具。”...

中国现在国内外面临困局,“我觉得7个常委应该开会做决议,换人。其实,只要换了人,外部的环境就开始宽松了。因为这就是个标志,告诉外面我们要转向了。只要这个人在台上,外部的环境只有越来越紧张,是不可能改变的,不可能缓和的,而你换了人,外部环境就可以缓和。因为你即使不说话,别人都知道你可能转向。”

蔡霞描述中共党内高层,几乎完全是一个人手下的奴才。但她也明确指出,李克强,汪洋他们也很不容易,“在各自的岗位上很努力地在减少损失”。蔡霞发问,现在中国面临危险局面,党内元老,现任常委,“能不能再一次为了这个国家,为了人民,奋起做一个少数服从多数的决议,请这个人下去,体面地退居二线,去养老,不要再干预,我们党才有可能调头。如果说这个人不下去,我们党没有机会”。

An earlier translation of one her articles - Cai Xia "Advancing Constitutional Democracy" - Reading the China Dream

Cai Xia 蔡霞, a retired professor from the Central Party School in Beijing, offers a robust defense of liberal democratic values and institutions, but does so in the language of the Chinese Communist Party. She earned her Ph.D. in law at the Central Party School in 1988 and currently is retired from its Department of Party Building and Education Research. She has been a prolific writer on Party theory and a noted commentator on public affairs—using social media to weigh in on notable cases of corruption or Party repression of intellectuals. Her 2002 book, Globalization and Communist Values 全球化与共产党人价值观 received a prize in the Party education system. She thus speaks as a notable establishment intellectual.

Cai’s column on the CCP News site - 蔡霞专栏


7. China and the world

Has COVID-19 Changed How China’s Leaders Approach National Security? | ChinaFile Conversation

An interesting conversation, almost like a virtual Track 1.5/2 discussion, the Chinese participants are Jia Qingguo and Da Wei

Jia:

In sum, China’s diplomacy has not changed in substance despite changes in rhetoric and style. It is American perception of it that has changed. Previously, many Americans had hoped that China would become more liberal, and even democratic, as the country developed economically and became more integrated with the outside world. They are disappointed and feel betrayed because their expectation has not been fulfilled. As a result, they have begun to examine China’s behavior in the worst possible light and to believe whatever China does is wrong, the result of evil intentions. Maybe it’s time to take a balanced view and adopt a realistic and pragmatic policy so that the two countries can peacefully coexist and cooperate when needed.

Da:

It’s true that China’s external environment has deteriorated since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having said that, the role of the pandemic in the change in China’s strategic calculus should not be exaggerated.

In 2018, almost two years before the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government began to use a new phrase to describe its external environment when Xi Jinping claimed that the world was experiencing “profound changes unseen in a century.” From the Chinese government’s point of view, the world order has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade. New powers and players are emerging, and—particularly under the Trump administration—the U.S. is withdrawing from its leadership in the liberal world order. The existing world order which China has tried to integrate into and which it has benefited from has begun to disintegrate. As for China-U.S. relations, the Trump administration abandoned the long-term “engagement” strategy towards China and defined China as a “strategic competitor” in December 2017. The two countries waded into a trade war in 2018. The same year, the U.S. began its efforts to strangle Chinese hi-tech companies like ZTE and Huawei. These changes have brought huge uncertainties to, if not purely negative impacts on, China’s further development. COVID-19 has been an accelerant to changes in the Chinese government’s strategic calculus that were already long underway...

The Chinese government does not have an incentive to maintain its internal stability by showing toughness externally...

China of course wants a benign external environment. The challenge is that the environment itself is changing, and China cannot determine its trajectory. It takes two to tango. The next U.S. administration, no matter whether it is Republican or Democratic, will face a critical choice: whether it should pursue a healthy competition strategy or a zero-sum suppression strategy with China.

Lee Hsien Loong: America, China, and the Perils of Confrontation - Foreign Affairs

Asian countries see the United States as a resident power that has vital interests in the region. At the same time, China is a reality on the doorstep. Asian countries do not want to be forced to choose between the two. And if either attempts to force such a choice—if Washington tries to contain China’s rise or Beijing seeks to build an exclusive sphere of influence in Asia—they will begin a course of confrontation that will last decades and put the long-heralded Asian century in jeopardy...

For its part, China must decide whether to try to get its way as an unencumbered major power, prevailing by dint of its sheer weight and economic strength—but at the risk of strong pushback, not just from the United States but from other countries, too. This approach is likely to increase tensions and resentment, which would affect China’s standing and influence in the longer term. This is a real danger: a recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that people in Canada, the United States, and other Asian and western European countries have increasingly unfavorable views of China. Despite China’s recent efforts to build soft power abroad—through its network of Confucius Institutes, for example, and through Chinese-owned international newspapers and television outlets—the trend is negative.

Opinion | China Doesn’t Want a New World Order. It Wants This One. - The New York Times

Mr. Gokhale is a former Indian ambassador to China.

As the United States falters and the world spins into crisis, he [Xi] has a bigger campaign to occupy him: taking over the international institutions, like the World Health Organization and the United Nations, that manage the world.

The plan bears a suitably benign and innocuous title — “Community With a Shared Future for Mankind.” First proposed by Mr. Xi in 2013 and introduced at the United Nations two years later, the concept revolves around the importance of consultation and dialogue, of inclusivity and consensus, of win-win cooperation and shared benefits. It is, in short, entirely vague. It contains no specific action points and no tangible outlines of a new world order.

That’s the point.

Contrary to speculation, China has always said it is not seeking to overthrow the global order. We should listen. Why would China go to the trouble of capsizing the global order when it can simply take it over, whole and intact?

China’s zealous ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy highlights both Beijing’s power and insecurity | South China Morning Post opEd by Bilahari Kausikan

The sense of entitlement embedded in the strongly nationalist narrative of humiliation, redemption and rejuvenation under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – and specifically that of President Xi Jinping – by which the CCP justifies its right to rule, invests an abrasive tone of superiority to their efforts. China’s ‘Wolf Warriors’ are doing a better job than any American diplomat of arousing anti-Chinese feelings around the world.
It is tempting, but, alas, not very credible, to think of them as CIA sleeper agents, now awoken to do Donald Trump’s bidding. Still, even Fu Ying, a former Vice-Foreign Minister and no slouch when it comes to being tough, was sufficiently concerned about the effect these doughty warriors were having to use a People’s Daily commentary to warn: “A country’s power in international discourse relates not just to its right to speak up on the global stage, but more to the effectiveness and influence of the discourse.”

Bilahari Kausikan is the former permanent secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs


8. The outbreak

Yicai - Chinese Mainland Reports One Confirmed Covid-19 Case

Chinese health authority said today that it received report of a new confirmed Covid-19 case yesterday, which was imported and reported in Guangdong province.

China offers $20m for vaccine: Li - Global Times

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday delivered a speech at the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020 to enhance global coronavirus vaccine cooperation, emphasizing that China has been cooperating closely with international partners in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and will fulfill its commitment to providing global public goods.

To meet the challenges of COVID-19, the Chinese government will make a contribution of $20 million to GAVI's funding for the period 2021-2025, Li announced.

长安街知事:连续发现15例无症状感染者,牡丹江市委书记调整

Beijing Daily reported that the party secretary of Mudanjiang has been removed from his post after the city reported 15 new asymptomatic cases of COV19 in the past 10 days. 

Supervision of labs testing for COVID-19 to tighten - Gov.cn

China plans to tighten supervision over laboratories running nucleic acid tests and enhance training of lab workers in order to ensure the quality of testing amid the COVID-19 epidemic, according to a notice released on June 3 by the State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism.

The new measures are being rolled out as the country implements routine epidemic control work and local authorities step up infrastructure construction and boost testing efficiency, leading to swelling numbers of nucleic acid tests, according to the notice, which was published on the website of the National Health Commission.

Yicai - China's Face Mask Fabric, Machinery Prices Slump Amid Supply Glut

The cost of nonwoven meltblown fabric, with a filtration rate of less than 80 percent, has slumped to less than CNY10,000 a ton from an earlier minimum of CNY400,000 (USD56,192), the 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing an insider at Guangzhou-based medical supplies maker Well Lead Medical.

Buyers who purchased face mask machinery for as much as CNY1 million (USD140,485) during the peak period of the virus outbreak can now ask for a regular price of CNY200,000 to prevent it from being turned into scrap metal, the person added.

China to Allow Banned Foreign Airlines to Resume Some Flights - Caixin

According to the CAAC’s Thursday announcement posted on its website, foreign airlines that were barred from China due to the earlier restriction will be allowed to resume operating one flight per week into China starting June 8. It said airlines would be limited to flying on routes where they were already licensed to fly, and could choose from a list of Chinese cities provided by the CAAC.

It added that it would provide incentives for airlines to screen out passengers carrying the Covid-19 virus, and punish those that did not.

It said airlines that went for three consecutive weeks without anyone testing positive for Covid-19 on their flights would be allowed to operate a second weekly flight into China. Conversely, any airline that operated a flight with five or more passengers testing positive would be suspended from operating flights for a week. Airlines with 10 or more passengers testing positive on a single flight would be suspended for four weeks.

“When the risks are under control and adequate guarantees are received, the number of flights from eligible countries can be appropriately increased,” the CAAC said.

CAAC announcement - 民航局关于调整国际客运航班的通知

U.S. to revise Chinese passenger airline ban after Beijing move: sources - Reuters

The U.S. Transportation Department plans to issue a revised order in the coming days that is likely to allow some Chinese passenger airline flights to continue, government and airline officials said.

Resuming intl flights not about politics: Global Times editorial - Global Times

On Wednesday, the US Department of Transportation said that it was suspending the scheduled flights of all Chinese airlines into the US starting June 16.

It seems that China made a concession. But China's new regulation applies to all airlines, and the US is not supposed to be treated differently. US airlines hope to fly several times to China a day, and China will not accept that at the current stage.

具备国际客运航班接收能力的口岸城市名单

China‘s civil aviation administration released lists of 37 cities that are qualified to take in international flights. They are Beijing, Changzhou, Chengdu, Dalian, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Harbin, Hangzhou, Hefei, Hohhot, Jinan, Kunming, Lanzhou, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Nantong, Ningbo, Qingdao, Quanzhou, Xiamen, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Wenzhou, Urumqi, Wuxi, Wuhan, Xi'an, Yanji, Changchun, Changsha, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing.

Basketball: China to resume domestic league on June 20 - Reuters

the remaining games will be held in Qingdao City, Shandong province and Dongguan city, Guangdong province, respectively, with no supporters present.

Controlling COVID-19 pandemic remains priority - People's Daily "Ren Ping"

There's an old saying in China that human life comes above everything. Only by controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and safeguarding the life and health of the people can a solid foundation be laid for continuous economic and social development...

Some commented that the pandemic in the U.S. has yet to peak, but the capability of the U.S. government to shift blames is always on a new high. Even U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who's always been anti-China, remarked that the White House's rhetoric on China is a "diversion" from its own missteps in handling the coronavirus outbreak.

Solidarity and Cooperation is the Most Powerful Weapon for Africa to Defeat COVID-19

Amb. Liu Yuxi, Head of Mission of the People's Republic of China to the African Union

China's support and assistance to Africa is a manifestation of international humanitarian spirit guided by the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. Such help does not come with any political conditions, or any intention for selfish geopolitical gains. China comes to Africa with sincerity and experience, fund and technology. By contract, some people are just dictating African countries on what they should or shouldn't do and rejecting any efforts of them. Some people are trying to politicize the pandemic, label the virus and attack and smear China in order to shift the blame for their own inadequate response to the pandemic. Some people who have demanded reparations from China are trying to make a fortune through blackmailing. And some are even stirring up trouble in Africa, deliberately trying to undermine and drive a wedge between China-Africa cooperation in fighting against the pandemic. But Africa is not a hunting or testing ground for anyone. Only Africans have the final say on African affairs and their international cooperation. China and the Chinese people are trustworthy teammates in this battle, not rivals of Africa or even the international community. We have confidences that African brothers will firmly guard against attempts to make use of the virus to discredit China or sow discord between China and Africa.

Schools' anti-virus precaution concern of most Chinese parents: survey - Xinhua

According to a survey published in Thursday's edition of China Youth Daily, over 97 percent of the 2,468 parents polled said they are keeping a close eye on whether such measures are soundly conducted.

About 72 percent of the parents said they have to make sure schools are carrying out anti-virus precautions in a scientific and prudent manner, and more than 70 percent of them said they are worried about the growing risk of infection coming along with increased personnel flows at schools.


Business, Economy and Trade

微博 - 58同城上的失业笔记..... Grim Weibo thread of people looking for jobs

从这些数据读懂,疫情之下财政政策特殊在哪儿 Because of the pandemic fiscal income for 2020 is expected decrease by 5.3%, the biggest decrease since 1969.

商务部:零售各业态限额以上企业复工率已超95% Ministry of Commerce said more than 95% of the retail industry have resumed its business by June 1.

人民日报:完善基础设施,补上发展短板,在建重大水利工程投资超万亿元 People’s Daily boasted in a front-page article that across China now there are 108 major hydropower projects under construction, which employ more than 120 thousand workers and cost more than one trillion RMB in investment. It said the projects can help China’s agriculture, and the investment can translate into more than 1.5 percentage point in GDP growth.

Yicai - China’s Key Economic Gauges Likely Picked Up in May, Yicai Chief Economist Survey Finds China’s key economic indicators for last month are likely to have continued to improve, but many remain in negative territory, according to the latest Yicai Chief Economist Survey which canvassed the opinions of 24 top economists.

Trending in China: Banks Slash Red Tape to Verify ID, Receiving Both Cheer and Skepticism - Caixin People have generally embraced the change with excitement, citing the excessive and tedious formalities that they have experienced. The comment section on Weibo is full of anecdotes about people who were asked to gather numerous certificates over the course of many days as proof of their identities. Below one comment that reads “Well done! I don’t want to prove over and over again that my mother is indeed my mother or that I’m indeed me,” another user replied that a friend’s mother used a death certificate as proof that her grandfather passed away, but the clerk did not think the certificate is sufficient. “Would you rather have the deceased person show up at the bank?” the user joked.

第一财经:GDP20强县榜单:昆山连续16年居榜首,江浙占13席 Yicai ranked Chinese counties in terms of their GDP size. 13 of the top 20 are in Zhejiang province. Kunshan of Jiangsu has the biggest GDP, 404 billion RMB for 2019

Chinese tech firms pledge more help for street stalls, small vendors after Premier’s comments | South China Morning Post Major tech platforms – including Tencent Holding’s ubiquitous app WeChat, mobile payments platform Alipay and e-commerce platforms JD.com and Suning – announced new plans to help street vendors and smaller retailers recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic after Premier Li Keqiang described small businesses as the driving force behind China’s economy.

NEW BUSINESS: Yum China Holdings - POLITICO Influence NEW BUSINESS: Yum China Holdings — a Chinese company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that operates KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants in China — has hired Sidley Austin as its first Washington lobbying firm. Former Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and three other Sidley lobbyists will lobby for the company on legislation known as the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, S. 945 (116). The bill, introduced by Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is designed to expel Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges if they don’t certify that they aren’t owned or controlled by foreign governments. The bill passed the Senate last month by unanimous consent.

China’s ‘new infrastructure’ projects, explained · TechNode Beijing is promising big spending on “new infrastructure” amid post-virus stimulus. The government says it will focus on electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, an upgraded electrical grid, artificial intelligence, 5G networks, improved transportation systems, and data centers to drive the economy towards recovery.  While China has not announced official figures, analysts from China Sinolink Securities, which has produced the most comprehensive and widely cited estimates, expect the total to reach RMB 1 trillion (around $141.3 billion) in 2020

US Treasury FX report preview: Three and a half manipulators | Article | ING Think The Treasury is delaying its currency manipulation report, possibly on the back of new tensions with China - which might be labelled again despite not meeting the criteria. We estimate that Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand all exceed the thresholds, while Switzerland is dangerously close. However, we don’t exclude some “free passes” being granted

China’s $941 Billion Fund Loses Third Executive Since April - Bloomberg Meng Chen, a team leader at Beijing-based China Investment Corp.’s direct investment arm, has resigned according to the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is private. An email to CIC’s press department seeking comment wasn’t immediately answered. Meng declined to comment.

Politics and Law

39 children, staff hurt in knife attack at south China primary school | South China Morning Post The incident happened about 8.30am at the Wangfu Town Central Primary School in the city of Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. An incident report released by the town government identified the alleged attacker as Li Xiaomin, a 50-year-old security guard who worked at the school.

Legal Experts Slam Beijing’s Plan to Make Defaming Traditional Chinese Medicine a Crime - Caixin Citizens will naturally hold different views on a practice whose effectiveness is debatable, said Tsinghua University Law professor He Haibo, adding that the document displays a lack of confidence in the position and effects of TCM as well as an “excessively superstitious” approach to administrative and criminal punishment. “How does placing this cloak of invincibility around TCM spur its further development?” He said.

Shenzhen Mulls China’s First Personal Bankruptcy Legislation - Caixin China enacted an Enterprise Bankruptcy Law in 1986, but did not include a personal bankruptcy ordinance, leading some law experts to say the country only has “half a bankruptcy law.” The Shenzhen draft rules could change that for people living in the business hub that cannot afford payments on their debts, allowing them to apply for restructuring or liquidation and have part of their debts forgiven by creditors. China’s central government backed the establishment of a personal bankruptcy system in a document issued last year.

“Those ‘honest and unfortunate’ debtors will have a chance to get out of their debt predicaments and make a fresh start,” said a statement (link in Chinese) by the city’s legislature published alongside the draft regulation (link in Chinese). The legislature added that the legislation would help ease the worries of entrepreneurs and the self-employed, and strengthen the city’s market exit mechanism.

Beijing eyes infectious disease regulations - Global Times The plan was announced at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress on Thursday.   Regulations on hospital management, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), experimental animal management, as well as wildlife protection regulations are also included in the 20 regulations scheduled to be enacted or revised by the end of next year.

丁薛祥主持召开专项工作机制会议--新闻报道-人民网 6月3日,中共中央政治局委员、中央办公厅主任丁薛祥在京主持召开中央层面整治形式主义为基层减负专项工作机制会议,总结交流前段工作,研究进一步推动《关于持续解决困扰基层的形式主义问题为决胜全面建成小康社会提供坚强作风保证的通知》的贯彻落实工作。

Foreign and Defense Affairs

New strategic agreement with India signed to counter China's influence - Sydney Morning Herald The comprehensive strategic partnership is Australia's fourth, after agreements with Singapore, Indonesia and China. A new maritime agreement will also enable closer cooperation in maintaining security in the Indian Ocean.

India China border tensions: Defense minister reveals large Chinese troop movements - CNN Speaking to CNN-affiliate News18, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said Tuesday a "significant number" of Chinese troops had moved to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries. "It is true that people of China are on the border. They claim that it is their territory. Our claim is that it is our area. There has been a disagreement over it ... India has done what it needs to do," Singh said during the interview. He added that top-level talks between the two countries would be held on June 6.

China-India dispute highlights both sides’ growing military presence at border | South China Morning Post Hong Kong-based military expert Liang Guoliang said Beijing had deployed at least nine combined arms brigades – with specialities including mountain infantry, artillery, air defence, aviation, chemical and nuclear, and electronic warfare – to the Tibet Military Region, a PLA district dedicated to border disputes with India.

COVID-19 made China more aggressive, says former UK top aide – POLITICO Theresa May's former chief of staff said the U.K. has been "incredibly naive" in its handling of China. Speaking to London Playbook Editor Jack Blanchard on Wednesday, Nick Timothy was highly critical of both the Chinese state and the U.K's relationship with the superpower. "I feel we have been incredibly naive in the way that we have handled China," he said.

U.K. Opens Talks With Huawei Rival as Johnson Confronts China - Bloomberg Officials spoke with Japanese technology company NEC Corp. in May as part of efforts to diversify the range of equipment providers for the U.K.’s fifth-generation mobile networks, a person familiar with the matter said. The government is also looking at Samsung Electronics Co Ltd as a possible option to provide crucial 5G infrastructure, the person said.

Google says Iranian, Chinese hackers targeted Trump, Biden campaigns | TechCrunch Shane Huntley, director for Google’s Threat Analysis Group, said in a tweet that hackers backed by China and Iran recently targeted the campaigns using malicious phishing emails. But, Huntley said, there are “no signs of compromise,” and that both campaigns were alerted to the attempts.

Coalition to add new national security test to Australia's foreign investment regime | The Guardian The Morrison government will add a new national security test to Australia’s foreign investment regime, including powers for the treasurer to vary the conditions of an acquisition by an overseas buyer, or dispose of the investment if security risks emerge post-approval. The changes, likely to irritate China after a period of diplomatic fractiousness, will be outlined by the government on Friday

Indonesia says China's 'nine-dash line' puts its interests at risk - Nikkei Asian Review Indonesia's economic interests are jeopardized by China's territorial claim covering most of the South China Sea, its foreign minister said Thursday, explaining a letter Jakarta sent recently to the United Nations. "China's claims potentially affect Indonesia's exclusive economic zone," Retno Marsudi said at a virtual news conference. "The Indonesian government remains consistent in its position."

Chinese Navy launches 2020 pilot recruitment - China Military In the past few days, ordinary high school students, flight school students and military academy graduates from 22 provinces have come to Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province, to participate in the physical and psychological tests. According to the recruitment staff, in addition to the original subjects, corneal topography, visual contrast sensitivity, stereo vision, and seasickness sensitivity tests were added to the selection of carrier-based aircraft pilots, making higher requirements on the spines of the participants. Besides, the recruitment office has also improved the psychological evaluation system and the carrier-based flight potential detection platform, which will provide a scientific basis for the targeted selection work.

Speculation of military commission rises as FC-31 stealth fighter jet appears in PLA Navy recruitment video - Global Times After China's FC-31 stealth fighter jet appeared in the most recent pilot recruitment video for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, speculation increased that the aircraft could become China's next generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet. The PLA Navy's pilot recruitment program for 2020 recently started, with students from all around the country gathering for a series of qualification tests in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday...The CCTV report featured a video which introduced the requirements to apply for the program, in which a cartoon figure of a pilot sitting in a FC-31 fighter jet is displayed.

加入“浪花白”方阵,欢迎报考海军工程大学! - 八一电视·中国军网 nice recruitment video for the PLA Naval University of Engineering

Taiwan

PLA holds intensive landing, naval drills in ‘warning to secessionists’ - Global Times The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been holding frequent and intensive amphibious landing and naval drills in what analysts said are sending warnings to Taiwan secessionists.  Some of the recent exercises featured amphibious tanks storming the beaches and civilian ships transporting tanks and armored vehicles across the sea. Ongoing drills may feature China's second aircraft carrier the Shandong, as well as other advanced warships, or even the test firing of new weapons like the JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile or the electromagnetic railgun.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Uzi, China’s League of Legends Legend, Retires at 23 - SixthTone In a message posted Wednesday to his Weibo microblog, 23-year-old League of Legends player Jian Zihao — better-known by his gaming handle Uzi — said that due to mounting health concerns, he would no longer be competing professionally. The “continual high pressure, poor diet, and late nights” he faced as an esports athlete had led to him being diagnosed last year with type 2 diabetes, Jian explained.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Yicai - China to Build World’s First Deep-Sea Aquaculture Ship The aquaculture ship, which has a carrying capacity of 100,000 tons, acts as a super-large mobile fishing net. It will traverse the coastal waters between Shandong and southern Guangdong province looking for the best environment to cultivate fish. With an aquaculture capacity of 80,000 cubic meters, the fish farm is able to reach depths that ordinary boats cannot.

China Takes First Step in Consolidating Energy Infrastructure - Caixin China is moving ahead with its mega plan to consolidate state-owned pipeline and related assets by requiring the country’s three largest oil companies to hand off management of nearly half of their liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to a new state-owned giant, Caixin has learned. The 10 terminals are among the first batch of assets set to be transferred to China Oil & Gas Piping Network Corp

A 1,000-Mile Long Clean Energy Artery Is Completed in China It’s the first UHV line in the world built to transmit only carbon-free electricity, its developer, State Grid Corp. of China, said in a statement. It will allow more renewables to be developed in Qinghai and Gansu provinces and deliver the electricity all the way to Henan in central China.